Horseback Riding in Israel

| May 6, 2013 | 0 Comments
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Horseback Riding in Israel

Horseback Riding in Israel

Horse Up Close (Photo: Ron Almog, CC BY 2.0)

Israel – land of the horse? It is said that King Solomon loved horses so much that he continually added to his stable, going as far as importing many of them from Egypt. The Bible states that his stables held 12,000 horses with horsemen aplenty and 1,400 chariots.

Today, Israel also has about 12,000 horses, but these horses aren’t fighting biblical battles. They are strictly reserved for recreational horseback riding – a relatively new activity in the State of Israel but one that has proven quite popular.

Over the past two decades, horseback riding clubs have been appearing all over the Holy Land. Rodeo-style competitions in roping, reining, and cutting are pulling in crowds, while serious-minded equestrians are focusing on breeding horses for specific qualities. Horses used to be inexpensive in Israel because there was little demand for them. Now prices are climbing. You practically have to be King Solomon to be able to afford one.

Horseback Riding Ranches in Israel

Horseback Riding in Israel: Horse in the Upper Galilee

Horse in the Upper Galilee (Photo: סאלם נסאר, CC BY 2.5)

Riding on horseback can make you feel like you are back in Biblical times going through the desert around Beersheva where Avraham (Abraham) and Yitzhak (Isaac) tended their sheep. You can also ride around the hills of Galilee where the Sermon on the Mount was heard or travel through the Camel Mountain range with its prehistoric caves. You and your horse can mosey on over to the Ramon Craters, the Israeli version of the Grand Canyon. Also, most horseback-riding ranches are located on the grounds of sweet little bed and breakfasts, where you are usually served really good food.

Most of the riding clubs or ranches in Israel offer their guests horseback riding by hourly or daily rates. In addition to this, there are some unique riding experiences to be found. For example, some ranches offer horseback riding as therapy for various physical, mental, and learning disabilities. In other cases, riding is combined with Biblical history, geology, and a cup of coffee in a Bedouin tent.

Sea of Galilee Horseback Riding Ranch

Horseback Riding Ranch in Israel: Vered Hagalil

Vered Hagalil (Photo: Yoav Dothan, Public Domain)

Vered Hagalil is a combination ranch and resort, with every amenity you could want, in addition to horseback riding. The late founder of Vered Hagalil, native Chicagoan Yehuda Avni, is credited with beginning the horseback riding revolution in Israel. The name of the ranch translates to Rose of the Galilee, given that it is located in the Galilee and opened with just a small herd of horses. It has since grown into a horse rider’s dream getaway.

At Vered Hagalil you can take riding lessons at all levels, while more experienced riders can arrange for 2-3 day tours that wind through the valley of Ginnosar, the rolling Galilean hills, and the gentle slopes of the Jordan River Delta. The ranch also offers what it calls its “Bonanza” trip on horseback to the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret). The Bonanza tour includes a barbecue and overnight camping.

Guests can also arrange for night horseback rides to see the beautiful moonlit sky with the lights of Tiberias in the distance. Prefer something short and sweet? Reserve a spot for the one-hour sunset trip.

In addition to providing immediate gratification to dedicated horse people and beginners alike, the ranch also has a therapeutic riding center with trained professionals.  Horseback riding as therapy is extremely effective for various types of disabilities, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other learning difficulties. The staff is patient and encouraging, and the well cared for horses are placid and calm.

Horse Riding Lessons

Horseback Riding in Israel

Riding Through Ruins (Photo: Steve Slep, CC BY 2.0)

If you stay overnight at the ranch, you get a 10% discount on all riding activities. Vered Hagalil’s Western Riding School opened in 1992 and offers lessons to all ages. Riding hours are from 7:30 AM. Even children aged 2-8 years can get a taste of horseback riding by way of 5-10 minute pony rides. Children aged 6-13 years can take half-hour horseback riding lessons while those 8-80 years can get a half-hour or an hour-long lesson in the riding ring.

For further information about Vered Hagalil email: vered@veredhagalil.co.il or phone: (04) 693-5785.

Horseback Riding in Israel: Did You Know?

Vered Hagalil requires that all riders wear long trousers, closed shoes, and helmets.

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Category: Activities, Horseback Riding

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